Whilst many women in South Africa are facing poverty and unemployment while balancing family responsibilities and various hardships, there are organisations that aim to support them in rising above their circumstances, such as getting the education needed to earn sufficiently or to learn how to start a business.
One such organisation is Colours of a Kind, a leading female-based empowerment accelerator and non-profit company that seeks to change this story for as many women as possible.
Providing the opportunity to women from disadvantaged communities to learn the skills needed to work within the local fashion and textile industry, Colours of a Kind’s goal is to boost employment opportunities, encourage entrepreneurship and to promote financial independence.
This ethos is aligned with the principles behind International Women’s Day, which falls on 8 March 2023. Recognising this day began in the early 1900s and still seeks to highlight the social, economic and cultural challenges that impact so many women, while commemorating history and uplifting women, striving towards gender equality.
Celebrate progress and success of women
Colours of a Kind graduate, Sindisiwe Phafuli
With this year’s International Women’s Day in mind, it’s important to celebrate progress and success like that of Colours of a Kind graduate, Sindisiwe Phafuli.
Like so many women with a child to support, Phafuli was not working and did not have enough money to study fashion.Colours of a Kind sponsored Phafuli with education and mentorship and enabled her to begin working in fashion, enabling her to provide more for her son, and to dream of opening her own boutique someday, dressing local celebrities and cabinet ministers.
“We’re so proud of Sindisiwe, she is living the vision of Colours of a Kind and inspiring others to do their best,” says General Manager of Colours of a Kind, Jackie Vorster. “Our graduates have sound business skills to take their professional journeys forward. Once you give a woman the opportunity to learn and show her how to operate in a place of business, it opens doors for her.”
Financial independence is crucial
The SETA accredited Colours of a Kind Accelerator Programme offers students a unique and fully sponsored opportunity to complete a one-year General Education and Training Certificate in the Clothing Manufacturing Process at the Fashion Institute of Garment Technology by the Cape Town College of Fashion Design. Graduates, like Phafuli, are then assisted through internship employment at the Colours of a Kind Creative Studio or with finding a job in the fashion industry. Support is also available for them to start their own fashion brands or businesses within their own communities.
Vorster believes that financial independence is crucial in the widespread upliftment of women in South Africa and believes that there are great opportunities within the textile and fashion industry with it being the second largest industry in Africa. “It’s an exciting sector, ripe for new talent as it shifts towards a more environmentally, socially and economically inclusive future. Helping women to succeed here is part of that and is at the core of Colours of a Kind.”
The organisation’s primary goals are to empower women from disadvantaged communities and to offer mentorship and employment opportunities including outsourcing of sewing work to graduates, creating ongoing, professional growth.
“This year we have expanded into our own production studio, to upskill our interns and to continue to provide a supportive and creative space for women,” Vorster concludes.
Colours of a Kind has to date assisted over 100 women to progress professionally into the fashion and textile industry. Colours of a Kind also offers tax deductible options for corporate sponsorship, and the availability of boutique products to support their graduates.